Body of baby found at dump

2009-10-13 00:00

WASTEPICKERS found the body of a newborn baby boy in the New England Road landfill site yesterday morning. This is the fifth baby to be found dead at the dump since the beginning of the year.

Despairing landfill site foreman Innocent Mhlongo described the incident as a tragic start to the week. He said the wastepickers were looking for a container to pack some of their pickings. They found a plastic bucket stuffed with a black bin bag, and when they pulled out the bag, they saw the body.

The shaken young men immediately informed the staff on site who called paramedics and the police.

Mhlongo said that in February, wastepickers found the bodies of newborn twins. Another body was found in March and then again in September. The five bodies are five too many, he added.

Mhlongo said that if it were not for the wastepickers they might never have discovered the bodies, because mechanical graders constantly turn the mounds of refuse over and cover them. He said the discovery of a newborn baby’s body is always a traumatic experience and it leaves everyone shaken.

“It is hardest for those who find the body and I appreciate the fact that they never hide their discovery, but always alert us immediately.”

ER24 paramedics rushed to the scene and declared the baby dead. Derrick Banks of ER24 said the newborn may have died of exposure.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said the baby may have been born elsewhere and dumped at the site.

“The baby appears to be fully formed, its race is unknown and due to the stage of decomposition it also appears that the body was dumped very recently, probably in the last 24 hours,” she added.

A postmortem will be held to reveal the exact cause of death.

Child Welfare director Julie Todd says that from anecdotal evidence it seems there is an increase in the number of newborns being dumped. She said she is also aware that there is an increase in teenage pregnancies, because many more are being brought to the agency’s attention.

Often the families don’t know about the pregnancies.

Todd added that there are many reasons why newborn babies are killed. “There are economic reasons and HIV and Aids also play a role,” she said.

Todd said many young people discover that they are HIV-positive after they fall pregnant. They are unaware that treatment is available and that they can live full and healthy lives. In these instances, killing a newborn baby can be an act of despair. The mother believes she is going to die and there will be no one to look after her baby, said Todd.

She added that much more needs to be done around HIV and Aids education.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that will assist in their investigation to contact the Alexandra Road detective services at 033 845 7724, or for anonymous callers, Crime Stop on the toll-free number 08600 10111.

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